The last time I was exposed to the everyday bullshit Black people have to deal with was about a year ago. (What a privileged sentence to be able to type.)
I was meeting two coworkers, one white and one Black, at a pub. My white coworker and I arrived first. We went to the bar and got drinks, then watched the live band while we waited for our friend.
He arrived, greeted us, and went to the bar alone. When he returned to where we stood, he asked if we could leave to another pub after we finished our drinks. We asked what was wrong.
He explained that while he was waiting at the bar, two older white men noticed him. One extended his closed fist, as if asking for a fist bump.
That was it.
Of course, we offered to leave immediately if it would make him more comfortable. He declined, but we hurried anyway. We found a second pub (and a third) and the rest of the night was fun.
A fist bump doesn’t seem like a big deal, does it? And it’s not, on the surface. But racism is deeper than surface-level. They were singling him out and treating him like a novelty.
I’ve been thinking about that incident a lot over the past few weeks. I’d be surprised if my old coworker even remembers it. Some people go through this shit every day.